1,000 more people die with Covid in UK as almost 600,000 new cases are detected
A thousand more people have died with Covid in the past seven days according to the UK Health Security Agency. The UKHSA says there were 998 deaths of people with Covid in the seven days to March 28 in the UK.
At the same time, 587,721 new Covid cases were detected. The rules on Covid testing change on Friday when free lateral flow testing in England is scrapped.
The surge in cases and deaths follows a relaxation of almost all Covid rules, and as experts say, a new strain has now become dominant. Omicron B.2 – also known as Stealth Covid – is now the dominant strain.
Some 200,000 children are out of school in England due to coronavirus, the Education Secretary has said, as he promised more details on rapid testing this week when universal free provision is stopped.
Nadhim Zahawi said further information on lateral flow testing will be presented on Friday when mass free testing ends in England.
The government said free testing would only be made available to the most vulnerable, but an education union said cutting free access when Covid-19 cases are high ‘feels irresponsible’ , while a health expert called it a “disaster” for NHS workers.
There has been confusion within the NHS over whether testing will remain free for staff, with the NHS Confederation saying workers could be forced to pay around £50 a month if they have to fund testing themselves mandatory, as he called for clarity on publishing it.
Headteachers have also expressed concern over “worrying” reports of a recent rise in Covid cases in schools, warning the problem could worsen when families have to pay for tests.
Around one in 16 people in private households in England – or 3.5million people – are likely to have had Covid-19 in the week to March 19, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS ).